The Belarusian People's Republic (Белару́ская Наро́дная Рэспу́бліка, BNR) was a state established in 1918. Originally established as a puppet state of Germany during World War I, the country received full independence after the Germans were defeated in the war. Belarus remained independent as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, that the Germans made with Vladimir Lenin. It supported the White movement during the Russian Civil War, recognizing the Provisional All-Russian Government as the nation's legitimate government. Some 45,000 troops of the Belarusian National Army fought alongside the Russian National Army.
Early years (1918-1921)
The Republic was first declared toward the end of World War I, when the German Empire established the state as one of it's buffer states. During the ongoing Russian Civil War, the Germans supported the White movement, until they were defeated in 1918. Belarus remained independent, as the Bolsheviks were unable to extend their influence into Belarus. The Republic supported the Whites, and it's military sent some 45,000 troops to fight for the White forces, which were organized, by that point, into a Russian National Army, under a provisional government.
The Belarusians were among the first to recognize the new government in Russia established by the Whites as being the legitimate Russian government, as one of the first acts of the new Belarusian People's Republic. They also established close relations with their newly-declared southern neighbor, the Ukrainian State, which also supported the Whites. Their militaries, the Belarusian National Army and Ukrainian State Guard, began close cooperation during the early 1920s, and both sent troops to fight for the Whites in Russia. Throughout the civil war, the Belarusian government worked to raise a nationalistic sentiment in the population, as the Belarusian people were weak willed by that point. It partially succeeded, but more patriotism did occur among the people.
After the Russian Democratic Republic was formed in the aftermath of the civil war, the People's Republic was among the first to recognize the new state, followed by Ukraine and other post-Russian Empire states.
World War II (1939-1945)
Government and politics
The military force of Belarus was known as the Belarusian National Army. It numbered to more than three million men at it's peak, much of it from drafting. Many members were veterans of the First World War, having fought as soldiers in the Imperial Army of the Russian Empire. That included the first chief of general staff, General Stanisław Bułak-Bałachowicz. The army used former Russian equipment, and had strong ties to the military of the new Russian Democratic Republic, the state created after the end of the civil war in 1921. It also worked heavily with the State Guard of neighboring Ukraine, and the countries had formed a strong alliance, known as the Eastern Pact. It allowed for many war games with fellow pact members. The army had a drastic reform in 1937, before the outbreak of the Second World War.